State aid: Commission approves €26 million Danish scheme to support providers of public passenger transport by rail in context of coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €26 million Danish scheme to support companies providing public passenger transport services by rail in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. Under the scheme, the support will take the form of a waiver of the charges paid by railway companies to access rail infrastructure during the period from September to December 2020. The aim of the measure is to help rail passenger operators cope with the difficult situation due to the coronavirus outbreak and to promote the shift of passenger transport from road to rail- a greener mode of transport. This objective is in line with national and EU climate policy goals in the area of transport and with Regulation (EU) 2020/1429, which enables Member States to temporarily authorise the reduction, waiver or deferral of charges for accessing rail infrastructure below direct costs. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular Article 93 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the 2008 Commission Guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings. The Commission found that, in addition to supporting a greener form of mobility such as rail transport, the measure is proportionate and necessary to achieve the objective pursued, namely to facilitate the modal shift from road to rail, whilst not leading to undue competition distortions. On this basis, the Commission approved the scheme under EU State aid rules. The measure follows the Commission’s approvals of two schemes (€134 million scheme in December 2020 and a €24 million scheme in June 2021), supporting providers of public rail passenger transport in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.62391 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website.